Can Street Food Be Healthy Too?
We all enjoy street food; It’s tough to resist these mouthwatering temptations across the country where each corner teases you to indulge. Once you are on the streets, the golden rule is to eat what’s freshly cooked right in front of you; and yes if you are a health freak like me, then we have to be thoughtful. Not a big fan of deprivation, indulging is important every once in a while!
The good thing about Indian street food is the variety you can choose from, and a wide selection that is actually healthy. The aromatic fruit chaat or the mooli (raddish) chaat, sprinkled with that spicy masala, are not to be missed. So let’s look at some yummy healthy street foods you can enjoy.
Sweet Potato Chaat/Shakarkandi: In winters, every street corner in North India will have a stall of this delicious Indian snack. Shakarkandi is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, fiber, B vitamins, potassium and iron. Shakarkandi is actually a good weight-loss food too, with 112 calories in each sweet potato and zero fat. So enjoy this sweet and sour chaat that is so full of nutrients.
Corn on the Cob/Bhutta: The Indian bhutta is a great snack that can be enjoyed any time of the day. This healthy snack is low in calories, low on fat, and is full of carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin). It’s great for the digestive tract and a very rich source of anti-oxidants such as Beta-carotene-alpha-carotene, ferulic acid. Phytonutrients found in it decrease the risk of cardio-vascular diseases; so enjoy the traditional style bhutta or steamed corn at the movies or on the road, and reap the healthful benefits.
Delhi Style Fruit Chaat: We all know that the anti-oxidants in fruits and veggies work hard to protect your body from ageing and diseases. But what you may not know is that these anti-oxidants work even harder when they are in synergy with each other. That is the reason why researchers recommend that we eat a wide variety when it comes to fruits and vegetables. So customize your own version of these chaats with a pungent masala to add a twist.
Parathas: This staple Indian breakfast makes a great snack, with a wide variety of vegetables to choose from like green peas, palak, methi, dill, cauliflower and mooli. You can customize your parathas with less oil and butter. So feast on these delicious parathas that are sustaining and wholesome.
Dhokla: Yet another, mouth watering Gujarati snack that is made of gram flour and subsequently steamed. It’s low in glycemic index makes it good for diabetics. Further the fermentation of dal enhances its nutritive value. You can enjoy this exceptionally healthy treat any time of the day.
Kebabs & Tikkas: These are a treats for the non-vegetarians, though the vegetarians can choose from a selection of yummy mouthwatering paneer, mushroom or soya tikkas. These low calorie chicken and fish tikkas can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal, ensure that food colorings are not used as they are linked to hyper activity, asthma and even cancer.
Eggs: These stalls are just about everywhere offering low cost high quality protein. Eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin K, Biotin, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Choose from the classic French toast or simply have the scrambled, hard or soft-boiled egg which is the healthiest way of preparing it. I personally love the scrambled egg with all my favorite vegetables and a hint of chopped green chilies.
Jhal Moori (Puffed Rice Snack):This light snack is great if you are looking for something crunchy. It can be tossed in minutes. Moori is very light and easily digestible. Add a dash of your favorite spices, vegetables and peanuts to make it more filling.
Dosa/Idli The crisp dosas and steaming idlistalls are like rescue foods for people on the go. This savory food of the south is a great source of protein for vegetarians, as it is made of rice batter and urad dal that completes the amino acid in them. Dosa is quite light so does not add too many calories. You can opt for the crisp plain paper dosa, with only 37 calories or add paneer, spinach, carrot, tofu filing to make it more nutritious.
Coconut Water: This is a perfect summer drink with the best electrolyte that enhances your absorption by dispensing waste and poisons from the body. Do not miss the coconut malai as it is a great source of healthy fat that has a profound positive effect on your overall health.
So, enjoy this wide variety of healthy street foods and be careful not to get tempted by deep fried snacks that are loaded with trans-fats and lack nutrition.